How Creating Mood Boards Led to This "Real Scandi" HDB Home
Heads up, actual Scandinavian homes aren’t just uncluttered, all-white spaces.
Creating a well-curated mood board is often an effective first step to getting the perfect home that you always wanted. Aside from giving you an amazing visual summary of all the ideas that you like, having all of them on paper (or on Pinterest, if you prefer) will bring you closer towards realising an ideal look for your future dwelling as well.
For couple Natasha and Shiu Yuen coming up with a mood board also helped them bring the look of their Scandinavian-inspired 5-room HDB flat closer to that of real-life homes from the Nordic region.
Interior Firm: Arche Interior
“We did a lot of research before the renovation,” shares Natasha who drew inspiration from not just Pinterest and Instagram, but also the homes of Scandinavian influencers. “That was when we found out that what’s considered ‘Nordic’ in Singapore is very different from the real thing.”
Read on to find out how this realisation shaped the look of Natasha and Shiu Yuen’s first home!
More about themselves
Natasha (N): I work as a scientist at A*STAR and my husband, Shiu Yuen, is a doctor. Prior to the renovation, we had a lot of ideas about how each of the spaces should look like and put all of them on our mood boards.
About the home’s concept
N: In Singapore, Scandinavian homes are all about achieving a more minimalist aesthetic. But for us, we did it differently because didn’t want to create an all-white home.
Even though there are still clean, sleek elements like black lines and neutral tones like grey, we made an effort to make the space more colourful with bold statement colours, green-blue in the living room and dark navy blue in the master bedroom.
Mood boards that Natasha and Shiu Yuen created.
N: Instead of opting for additional carpentry and built-ins, we bought more loose furnishings to keep things a little more mobile, just in case we move homes in the future.
On the home, pre-renovation
Shiu Yuen (SY): We were quite surprised when we first saw the home – the living room was more spacious than we envisioned. When we were starting out, we didn’t have much of an idea of how to fill it up, but we were excited to explore the different possibilities.
On changes made
N: Because we didn’t want the house to come off as minimalist, we decided to use bolder colours to amp up the cosy feel. Like for instance, we chose teal for the living room as it is a comfortable shade that complements the wood elements and our plants.
Loose pieces like customised shelves and a TV console from Premier IFM provide storage functionality in the living room.
SY: While creating our mood board and discussing what to do, we had the idea to knock down one of the walls in front of the study and replace it with glass to make the surroundings brighter.
N: Arche Interior and our designer, Edward, was able to make this idea work with mild steel, instead of a thicker aluminium frame, which would give the structure a sleeker look – that was one of the reasons why we chose to work with him.
N: We wanted an open-concept kitchen from the get-go and tried our best to make it work despite the constraints of installing an island. Also, we had to plan the space carefully because there was only one length of wall for our accessories and hardware, so we had to downsize these items, including the sink.
SY: Our family also gave us some practical advice. They talked us out of screeding and painting the wall because Chinese-style cooking can be quite heavy. So, we ended up using tiles with white grouts, even though we didn’t like the idea initially, until we found (tile) colours that matched our cabinetry’s laminates.
Like the kitchen, subway tiles were also used for the accent walls in both bathrooms. And for the master en suite (above), fluted glass doors were installed to add visual interest.
N: Again, drawing inspiration from our mood board , we decided to work in a dark navy blue wall for our master bedroom. It’s a calming colour that sets the mood – pretty perfect for our resting spot!
SY: We were also looking to add some gold accents in the room and I came across these hanging lights from Taobao; they go well with navy blue yet stand out nicely so I’d say they're a pretty good match!
N: To be honest, working in our walk-in wardrobe was a huge challenge. We had to rethink the bedroom layout so that everything could fit in – our bed, the side tables, etc.
Although an L-shaped wardrobe would give us the most walking space, we chose to have a galley-style walk-in in the end. The downside is that the sleeping zone would have to be smaller, but on the other hand, we get a private 'changing room' that's helpful because we won't end up disturbing each other due to our different waking hours.
SY: Edward also suggested that we put in a full-height mirror at the end of the walk-in wardrobe. It changes the vibe of the space, makes it feel more like a changing room in a fashion store.
On working with Arche Interior and Edward
N: Edward understood our design preferences immediately and had very similar ideas to ours. It was incredibly easy to work with him – he’s easy-going, very responsive in his replies. Because we were on the same wavelength, I think it made it easy for us to trust his design sensibilities.
To sum up
N: We approached this renovation knowing the type of look and feel we were hoping to achieve. All we needed was an interior designer who could help us realise our vision, which Edward delivered on. He also helped to coordinate the renovation works and that took a load off our shoulders.
SY: One thing we also learnt was that the contractors that a designer works with are also part of the package, so it's important to get a sense of their handiwork beforehand.
Another thing (we learnt) is that mood boards are important as they will help you – like they did for us – to put together your ideas.
Breathe life into your mood boards too!
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